Identifies common practices to be aware of when selling in this market, e.g., whether all sales material need to be in the local language.
Price, payment conditions, value, and quality are critical factors for success in Romania’s business and consumer markets. European competitors have a tariff-free status within the EU. In addition to a competitive price, American firms need to demonstrate a clear qualitative value proposition. Public-procurement- wise, the main (sometimes unique) winning criterion is the price (N.B - all tender documentations are publicized in Romanian; however, many Romanians will understand English).
Trade Promotion & Advertising
According to the European Audiovisual Observatory, there are more than 40 on-demand audiovisual services including main broadcasters’ catchup TV services. The main distribution companies - RCS/RDS, Telekom Romania, and Orange - also offer on-demand services of their own alongside third-party services such as HBO on Demand. Voyo is the SVOD service of Pro TV (part of the Central European Media Enterprises). Netflix is also available in Romania.
The main players are international companies: advertising agencies (McCann Worldgroup, Lowe Group, Publicis, Leo Burnett, Ogilvy), media agencies (Zenith Media, Optimedia, Initiative Media, Mindshare, Mediacom, Mediaedgecia), and advertisers (Vodafone, Coca-Cola, ING Bank). The largest advertising investments come from companies working in telephone services, retail, and fast-moving consumer goods.
The total 2020 turnover of the most monitored media agencies was approx. 448 million Euro / 530 million USD, 5.5% decrease yoy, while their net profit reached 15.5 million Euro / 18.32 million USD. https://www.forbes.ro/topul-agentiilor-de-media-din-romania-anul-2020-217236
A 2020 list of TV stations can be found at: https://www.cna.ro/Lista-sta-iilor-TV-pentru-2020-in.htm
- National Audiovisual Council
- The International Advertising Association
- The Romanian Advertising Association (UAPR )
- IAB Romania – member of IAB Europe
- Media Fact Book
Regional GDP is projected to return to growth in 2021 as activity recovers from the pandemic. Household and capital spending are set to rebound, partly supported by continued fiscal and monetary stimulus, while strengthening demand from the EU should bolster exports. Uncertainty regarding the evolution of the health crisis and the deployment of vaccines clouds the outlook.
Regional inflation fell to 2.1% in 2020 November from October’s 2.3%, reflecting easing price pressures due to weak aggregate demand. Looking ahead, inflation is seen decelerating from 2020 in 2021, although increasing food prices and continued loose fiscal and monetary policy stances could exert upside pressures.
Romania (Fitch rating ‘BBB-‘; Outlook Negative as of April 2021) has expressed interest in joining ERM II but there is no formal timetable.
Pricing structures in Romania are similar to most other countries: they are increased by wholesale and retail markups as well as by taxes including VAT. Romanian VAT rates are 19 % standard and 5 or 9 % reduced.
Exporters can realize greater sales success by quoting prices in local currency and offering credit terms instead of Letters of Credit or cash in advance. Numerous banks in the United States and Romania offer appropriate trade finance tools to manage both currency and payment risk. The U.S. Export-Import Bank and private providers offer credit insurance for Romanian buyers, as well.
Sales Service/Customer Support
After-sales customer service and support are still developing among Romanian businesses. As a consequence, Romanian consumers are increasingly sensitive to the quality of after-sales services in making their buying decisions. American firms generally hold an advantage in this area, but local partners may prove the weak link that damages brand perception. U.S. companies should be prepared to work closely with local partners (distributors, value-added resellers) to help them develop their service and support capabilities.
Conscious of the discrepancies among EU Member States in product labeling, language use, legal guarantee, and liability, the EU has launched a number of initiatives aimed at harmonizing national legislation. Suppliers within and outside the EU should be aware of existing and upcoming legislation affecting sales, service, and customer support.
Under the 1985 Directive on Liability of Defective Products, amended in 1999, the producer is liable for damage caused by a defect in his product. The victim must prove the existence of the defect and a causal link between defect and injury (bodily as well as material). A reduction in liability of the manufacturer is granted in cases of negligence on the part of the victim.
The 1992 General Product Safety Directive introduces a general safety requirement at the EU level to ensure that manufacturers only place safe products on the market. It was revised in 2001 to include the following: an obligation for the producer and distributor to notify the Commission in case of a problem with a given product, provisions for its recall, the creation of a European Product Safety Network, and a ban on exports of products to third countries that are not deemed safe in the EU. The legislation is still undergoing review.
Legal Warranties and After-sales Service
Under the 1999 Directive on the Sale of Consumer Goods and Associated Guarantees, professional sellers are required to provide a minimum two-year warranty on all consumer goods sold to consumers (natural persons acting for purposes outside their trade, businesses, or professions), as defined by the Directive. The remedies available to consumers in case of non-compliance are:
- Repair of the good(s);
- Replacement of the good(s);
- A price reduction; or
- Rescission of the sales contract.
Local Professional Services
A directory of local business service providers offering clear value to U.S. firms is available on the website of the U.S. Commercial Service in Bucharest, Romania:
Principal Business Associations
- American Chamber of Commerce in Romania (accepts U.S. companies)
- American-Romanian Business Council (accepts U.S. companies)
- Automotive Manufacturers and Importers Association (APIA): (accepts U.S. companies)
- Businessmen’s Association of Romania: (AOAR)
- Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania (CCIR)
- Employer’s Federation of Textile, Clothing and Leather Industry (FEPAIUS)
- Local American Working Group
- National Association of Internet Service Providers from Romania (ANISP)
- National Association of Software Industry & Services
National Council of Small and Medium Sized Private Enterprises (CNIPMMR)
- National Union of Road Haulers from Romania (UNTRR)
- Romanian - American Chamber of Commerce(RACC) (accepts U.S. companies)
- Romanian Association for Electronic Industry and Software (ARIES)
- Romanian Association of Building Contractors ARACO
- Romanian Association of International Drug Manufacturers (ARPIM)
- Romanian Association for Quality A(RC)
- Romanian Banking Association (RBA) (accepts U.S. credit institutions present in Romania)
- Romanian Business Leaders Summit
- Romanian Franchise Association: https://francizor.ro/francizare-afacere/
Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services
As a general rule, there are no absolute restrictions regarding the sale of U.S. products and/or services in Romania. However, applicable legislation does provide specific requirements for the manufacturing, import, trade, sale, and supply of certain products and services in the country. Foreign entities and individuals may need to obtain certain authorizations, licenses, permits, endorsements, and/or approvals and, as the case may be, to set up local/EU subsidiaries. Some noteworthy examples are:
- Pharmaceutical products may only be imported and sold in Romania if they are authorized for marketing in the country and their price is approved by the Romanian Ministry of Health.
- Medical devices can only be placed on the Romanian market if they bear the CE marking.
- Food supplements must be notified and approved by the local regulatory authorities in order to be traded in Romania.
- Imports and sales of firearms, ammunition, and explosives are subject to specific licenses and authorizations.
- Transportation, telecommunications, and audiovisual services are subject to licensing in Romania.
- Trade in nuclear products has a specific legal regime and requires mandatory authorizations.
- The trade, supply, distribution, transmission, and generation of energy generally require specific authorizations and a physical presence in Romania (subsidiary, branch, office, etc.).
- For financial services, capital market activities, payments, and e-money institutions, a U.S. entity must obtain specific authorizations and have a subsidiary located in Romania or another EU member state.